A girl is paddled at school. By a new writer to us.

By Toastywarm

Jaime looked at herself in the mirror. What a mess. Her eyes and cheeks were puffy, her hair in shambles. She didn’t look like herself. And she couldn’t quite remember coming into this little bathroom. She looked around. She knew she was at school but she had never been in this bathroom before. She remembered that really nice school secretary whose name she could never remember ushering her in there and saying that this would be a private place to “get herself together.” Jaime wanted to cry but she knew if she started crying now she would never pull herself together enough to leave this little bathroom. She washed her face and tried to toss her hair around so that it didn’t look like a giant cobweb. She wished she had a hairbrush. As she tried to fix her hair, in her mind she heard herself yelling, ‘Too hard! Too hard!’ She looked in the mirror and said aloud, “Did I really say that?”

As she started to walk out she could feel the tremendous pain in her bottom. Walking was making it worse. She felt like she had been in a fire and her jeans had melted into her butt. And her butt felt so large that her fiery skin was engaged tightly in her jeans. As she opened the door she quickly remembered where she was. She was behind the counter in the office, a place she had never been before, even after being in school for almost three years. Staff workers were everywhere and as she walked out the door it seemed that every eye was on her. Jaime looked to the ground, not wanting to make eye contact. She just wanted to get out and back into the recognizable school hallways. What she really wanted was to be home. As she walked out the door, the nice secretary stopped her.

“Don’t forget your books, Jaime.”

She looked up at the secretary. She remembered that she had been in the room with her because there needed to be a witness. Again, Jaime wanted to break into tears. It seemed that any human contact was emotionally painful.

“You go home and get some rest this weekend,” the secretary continued. “It will all be better on Monday.”

Jaime grabbed her books, hugged them to her chest and scooted out the door.

She was alone in the hallway only for moments before the end of day bell rang. The hall went from dead silent to raucous in a matter of moments. It was Friday afternoon and everyone was happy and ready for a weekend as they marched toward the main doors. Jaime could barely manage the excitement that surrounded her. She felt separated from the other students. She was desperate to get out and, as she closed in on the door, she moved faster to escape the crowded hallway. As she walked, she continued her self-talk.  ‘I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry.’

****

Emma and Lucas had been Jaime’s neighborhood friends for as long as any of the three of them had remembered. Jaime had moved to Texas when she was three years old and remembered little of the time before she was here. Both Emma and Lucas were born in town and had never lived anywhere else. Jaime’s parents called them real Texans because their families had been in the state for generations. She understood that, but always wondered what she was. Was she an unreal Texan? She had acquired a bit of an accent, but nothing like Emma and Lucas who had learned to speak from their southern drawl parents.

Jaime had a crush on Emma’s father. Not only was he an extremely handsome man with deep blue eyes, his accent was strong and he looked and sounded like a real cowboy. He actually was an insurance agent who, whenever he saw Jaime, he would comment on how she was growing up so nicely.

“It won’t be long before I start trying to sell you some insurance,” was his standard line with the kids. Jaime would always blush in front of him.

Emma, Lucas and Jaime liked to refer to themselves as ‘the normals’. Like every other school, theirs had the usual subgroups. There were the beauties, the jocks, the hipsters and the troublemakers. Jaime had friends in almost all groups but wasn’t part of any of them. She stayed clear of the troublemakers, however, because they were just plain mean.

Emma and Lucas were already outside, waiting in their usual spot. Jaime saw them from the steps and briefly thought about walking the other way. She really wanted to be alone. The three of them walked home together every day and she knew that she couldn’t just brush them off.

As she approached them she saw the worried faces on both her friends. She had told Emma what was happening today, and it was obvious that Emma had spilled the beans to Lucas, even though she had been sworn to secrecy. Emma was like that. She was a great friend but when she got nervous she couldn’t stop talking. She had been worried about Jaime all day, and had blurted out that Jaime was being punished while the two stood under a tree waiting for their friend.

Instead of stopping to talk, Jaime walked right by them. “Come on, let’s go,” she said tersely. The two friends hurried to keep up with her.

“Did it happen?” Emma asked.

“Uh-huh,” was all Jaime could say. If she said anything more, she would start balling.

“Was it horrible?”

Jaime didn’t answer; she just kept walking. All she could think about was getting through her front door where she could finally burst into tears. Her silence bothered Emma and made her talk more and faster.

“You know, they really shouldn’t do that to kids. It’s just not right. My cousin got it a few years ago and…”

Lucas hit Emma in the arm to stop her. He knew how much Jaime didn’t want to hear the story.

Jaime did her best to ignore her two friends. She just wanted to get home. The only other person who knew what had happened was her mom. Jaime wanted to see her. She wanted her mom to tell her everything was going to be OK. She wanted, more than anything else, to hug her.

Emma continued to babble on. Now she was talking about the pool party at her house this weekend. Emma and Jaime had gone out weeks ago to buy new bathing suits for the event. They had purchased bikinis that were as skimpy as possible, knowing that their parents would veto anything that was too revealing.

As soon as her house came into view, Jaime started walking faster. The other two couldn’t keep up. Emma looked concerned and called after her.

“Hey, you OK?” When there was no response, she yelled, “Well, see you at the pool party tomorrow!”

Jaime was almost in a run as she approached her house. She slammed the door behind her and pressed her back against it. In the safety of her home, tears were started rolling down her cheeks.

“Mom!” She yelled.

****

“That bridge has to be closed right now!” The town facilities manager was pissed. The report on the old Easton Bridge was dire. It was an emergency report that had just been sent to him and the city council. So, now everyone knew that the old bridge that they had been worried about for a long time was an impending death trap.

“OK, I will put notices out today and we will have it closed by the weekend,” said his assistant.

“Are you fucking kidding me? When I say now, I mean right now. Get the police out there and close it down. I want to hear sirens.”

Before his assistant could respond, the manager’s phone started ringing. He didn’t have to look. He knew it was one of the Councilmen.

****

Marta loved being a mother. She had always wanted to have children and was fortunate enough to have three. Growing up in her New Jersey suburban neighborhood, she loved watching her friends’ mothers. Whenever she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, the answer was simple. She wanted to be a mother.

And she was considered very successful in her role. People regularly told her how nice her children were. Billy was both an excellent student and an athlete, playing first base on the varsity team since his freshman year. Jaime was also a top student and was known as one of the most polite and genuine students in the school. Marta loved visiting her classes on parents’ night in the fall because all the teachers went on about what a great girl she was. And then there was little Nina. Still in elementary school, it was hard to tell what she would be like but the prospects were good.

Marta never saw herself as a Texan though. She had known little about the state until one Friday night when her husband came home from his job as a government auditor and told her that he had an opportunity for a promotion, but it would mean moving to Houston. She had trouble taking that in. Houston? Where is Houston? Southern Jersey? She couldn’t think of a Houston and then it hit her. “Do you mean Houston, Texas?”

The promotion was huge and it meant a lot more money for the family. Plus, living was cheaper than the New York suburbs. So Marta, her husband, Bill, and the two children packed up and moved to Houston Texas. Nina wouldn’t be born until after they moved.

The move and her life in Jersey were far from Marta’s thoughts now as she sat stock still in traffic with Nina in the back seat after an urgent run to the dentist for a toothache that had the little girl in tears.

Marta felt sick to her stomach as she sat in line.

“We are supposed to be home right now,” she said aloud to the little one. Really, she was talking to herself, but part of her wanted to blame the poor kid in the back seat.

She tried to calm herself. Traffic was not in her control and getting upset was not going to help. Finally, she saw a man in an orange vest talking to someone a couple of cars ahead. She opened her window and waited for the man to reach her car with some news.

It wasn’t long before she learned the bridge up ahead had been closed. Something about needing to fix something. She didn’t pay much attention to him because she was thinking that the route home was going to take another hour.

She felt like a failure as a mother.

****

The house was silent and Jaime realized she was alone. Her tears turned to sobs as she ran up to her room, slamming the door behind her. She felt like the pain had doubled since she left school and she had to get those tight jeans off to give her backside some much needed air. Naked from the waist down, Jaime fell face down onto the pink comforter on her neatly made bed and cried into her pillow. The stuffed animals that waited on her bed to sleep with her every night were no help now and she tossed them to the floor. Jaime cried. In her head, she heard herself yelling, ‘Too Hard! Too Hard!’ at the woman who was hitting her with a wooden paddle. She remembered gripping the desk so tightly that it hurt her fingers, and trying to keep from jumping up because the woman said if she stood up she would start all over again.

Jaime wasn’t sure how long she had been on the bed when she heard the garage door open. It would be Mom. She knew that her mother would come to her room so she slid herself under the covers so that her mother wouldn’t see her half naked.

It was only moments before she heard a knock on her door. She could barely respond before it opened and her mother peeked in.

“I am so sorry,” she said. “Nina needed to go to the dentist and…” She stopped herself, knowing that excuses were not what was needed right now.

Marta sat on the bed next to her child, who she knew was in both physical and emotional pain. She did the only thing she knew how to do in this case and that was to rub her hair and sit quietly with her.

Finally she said, “I guess it was real bad, huh?”

“Uh huh,” was the only response.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not yet.”

“You know, Jaime, I never had to deal with this kind of punishment. Where I grew up, the paddle wasn’t used in school. When we came here, we didn’t want you to be different, so we signed for you to receive the paddle if there was a disciplinary action needed. We never, ever expected that it would be used on you. I am so sorry that this has happened.”

Jaime had no response to this and after what seemed like an eternity of silence, Marta didn’t know what to do.

“Did you take any ibuprofen?”

The question almost made Jaime laugh.  Ibuprofen was Mom’s answer to every hurt. When the family was much younger they watched an old movie about a man who sprayed Windex on everything that was broken and everyone who had been hurt. It was a running joke that Ibuprofen was Mom’s Windex.

When she didn’t respond, Marta left and soon came back with two little pills in one hand and a paper cup in the other.

“Take these and rest for a bit. I will call you for dinner.”

****

When her mom was gone, Jaime threw off the covers so she could expose her butt to the air. Leading up to the punishment, she worried about how it would feel to be hit with the much talked about paddle, but she never thought about the pain that would remain after. She kept thinking that once the paddling was over she could go on with her life. Now she wondered in the burning would ever go away.

As she lay on her bed, Jaime’s mind raced through the day. Sitting through her classes, all she could do was think about what was coming at the end of the day. Usually an attentive student, Jaime had no idea what went on in her classes today. She only had enough room in her head to think about the upcoming paddling. She bought food at lunch but didn’t eat it, letting Lucas graze from her tray as Emma babbled on. Jaime had no idea what Emma was talking about. It was like she was in a trance.

When last period came, she delivered her note to her teacher and went to her locker where she grabbed her books that would be needed for the weekend. She remembered trying to think about what she would need, and ended up just taking most of her books with her.

Jaime thought back to sitting in the office and waiting. That was the first time she thought she was going to cry. And then the nice secretary came for her and gently guided her to the disciplinarian’s office. The poor lady probably had to deal with kids getting punished all the time. What a horrible job, she thought.

When her mind led her to being in the office with the disciplinarian, she started to cry into her pillow. The lady was very strict and was all business. She recited the reason for the punishment. Jaime had at first wanted to argue, and then wanted to say she was sorry, but nothing could come out of her mouth. And it was obvious the lady didn’t want to hear anything from her.

Then she was leaning over the desk. Her butt in the air. The room was silent except for her heartbeat which felt like it was being broadcast over a loudspeaker. She remembered breathing in, and suddenly it happened. The paddle landed hard on her backside. She remembered counting the first three, but then she lost count. All she remembered after that was yelling, “Too hard!  Too hard!”

Jaime also remembered leaning over the desk when the paddling had stopped. She felt stuck there, not knowing whether or not she would be able to raise herself. The secretary was there, rubbing her back and telling her it was over. She helped her up and walked her out into the outer office. It seemed bright out there and there were lots of people around. Jaime wondered who might have seen or heard her in that awful state.

And then there was that little bathroom. It was there she realized it was over and also realized that the physical pain would stay with her for some time. At that point, Jaime hadn’t even begun to think about the emotional pain she would also endure.

Jaime lay on the bed thinking about all this for some time. She went over it again and again thinking about different parts of the afternoon, not necessarily in order. While she lay there, she heard her brother Billy come home. He had baseball practice every day after school and arrived home just before dinner.

Dinner. She really didn’t want to do dinner. The evening meal was one of the few requirements in her house. No matter how bad a day you had, you had to show up for dinner. For the first time in hours, Jaime’s mind moved to the future. She needed something to wear that was going to be comfortable. She forced herself up and pulled out some sweat pants from her drawer and gingerly started pulling them up. As she did, she caught herself in the mirror. She couldn’t really see her bottom but it looked like there were bruises. With her pants around her knees, she waddled over to the full length mirror on the back of her door. Her eyes bulged when she saw the bruises that covered her backside.

The middle of each of her cheeks had a white circle surrounded by purple and red splotches that went down the back of her legs. Jaime felt like she was going to faint. The pain seemed to double as she looked at the damage to her body.

****

As a stay-at-home mom, Marta took pride in her family dinners. It wasn’t only the meal, it was the family time that was important. They always ate soon after Dad arrived home from the city and everyone was expected to be there.

Normally, they ate in the kitchen, but today the table was set in the dining room. Everyone, including Dad, was surprised by this change in routine. Billy was the most vocal about it. As Jaime was walking down the stairs, she saw Billy standing in the dining room in his baseball uniform yelling to anyone in earshot, “Hey, why we eatin’ in the dining room? We got company comin’?”

Marta spoke in an even manner from the kitchen. “Billy, I just wanted to eat in there tonight. Quiet down and come get the food.”

Marta had a reason for this unusual move. The dining room chairs were cushioned and the kitchen chairs were not. She had first thought about placing a pillow on Jaime’s chair in the kitchen, but as no one else knew what had happened that day, she decided that would not be wise.

Marta had made one of Jaime’s favorite dishes that evening and carried it in hoping it would bring a smile to her face. It didn’t. Jaime just sat looking at her plate. Dad said the evening prayer and food started quickly around the table. Billy was always hungry, so the girls had to make sure they got their food before he got to the serving plate. Everyone noticed how little Jaime took. The room was unusually quiet, mostly because of Jaime’s sullenness.

Billy broke the silence. Speaking with his mouth half full of food, he blurted, “Hey, Jaime, I heard you got whacked today!”

Jaime’s eyes went wide at Billy’s announcement. She was ready to hit her brother when Dad interrupted the would be fight.

“Now where would you hear something like that, Billy?” he asked.

“Jimmy K told me at practice that he saw Jaime coming out of the office all crying like. He said there was no question that she got whacked.”

Once again, tears were rolling down Jaime’s cheeks as she stood up. She needed to be out of the room fast. As she passed behind Billy, her hand came down hard across the back of his head. Surprised by the strike Billy, fell from his chair, banging his head on the table as he went down.

“Woah, woah, woah, young lady!”  called father, trying to stop the young girl. He started to rise when Marta gently patted her hand on his arm, giving him the signal to let her go. Dad was confused, but knew that Marta, who was always most knowledgeable about the needs of the kids, had everything under control. As she ascended the stairs, she heard her father asking if all this was true. As usual, he had no idea what was going on.

Back in her room, again face down on the bed, Jaime could hear the family dinner continue. She couldn’t hear the words, but was sure that they were talking about her. Dad, along with her brother and sister, were most likely being brought up to speed on her misdeeds and the punishment that followed. Jaime was sure her mother was turning it into a lesson for her siblings.

At first, she felt bad about hitting Billy. She hadn’t hit him since she was a little kid. But as she lay on her bed she felt something change inside her. He deserved to be hit. He should have known better than to say anything. She was angry with him and wanted to go back and hit him again. She jumped from the bed and opened her door, ready to go in for a fight. She thought better of that and slammed the door shut as hard as she could.

Downstairs, dinner conversation stopped when the whole house shook from the door slam and a loud “ARRRGH!” came from upstairs. Nina wondered if there was a monster in the house. And perhaps there was.

****

Mason Marshall had lived in town all his life. He married his high school sweetheart and moved into his current home soon after. His plan had been to move away from town after graduation from high school, but that never happened. An opportunity to play ball at the local college kept him in town for four more years and it wasn’t long before he found himself getting married, buying the home he still lived in today. Today, he is happy about the decision he made years ago. He loved watching his daughter, Emma, grow up in the same town, experiencing many of the same adventures that he had years ago.

Tonight, like many other nights, Mason stood at the window of his first floor office. It was the only place in his house where he was allowed to smoke the after-dinner cigar that he was so fond of. And like many other nights, Mason watched the house across the street, looking for some sign of life.

Ten years earlier a family from the north had moved into that house. Mason was immediately intrigued by the beautiful young mother. From the moment they moved in, Mason found himself looking for opportunities to see her and talk with her. He had always been, and always would be, faithful to his wife. In his mind, however, he saw himself making love to this woman that he could never remove from his thoughts.

Fortunately, the new family had a little girl who was the same age as Emma. As children, Emma and Jaime had become close friends, playing together constantly at one or another’s house. This gave Mason the excuse to stop by and chat with Marta when the kids were together. It also allowed the two families to become friendly.

The light that appeared in an upstairs window caught his eye. A sign of life, he thought. Mason had never seen anything that he shouldn’t have seen in all his years watching the house, but it hadn’t stopped him from looking. Occasionally, family members would be sitting on the front porch and he would look for Marta. Or sometimes he caught her getting into her car in the driveway. But tonight, all was quiet except for the light in an upstairs bedroom. Mason studied the window, but there was no movement behind the closed curtain.

****

Not unexpectedly, Jaime had visits from each of her parents that night. Her father came first and sat on the side of her bed. He wanted to know how she got in trouble and what was going on in her life that would send his almost perfect child to be punished. Jaime really didn’t want to talk about that, so she walked him through the events leading up to her paddling with as few words as possible. As always, Dad listened and didn’t judge. He did start in on her hitting her brother, though. He had his usual “use your words, not your fists,” speech. All she could think about while he went on was why didn’t the school use words instead of a big wooden paddle.

Also, and not unexpectedly, mom arrived soon after with a tray carrying some dinner and two more ibuprofen. She broke the news that Billy had a bruise on his face from hitting the table. Trying to make light of it, she said, “He’s going to be all right, but I’m going through my ibuprofen pretty fast.”

Jaime wanted to laugh, but at the same time she didn’t want her mom to think everything was better, so she just rolled over in bed and asked her to leave the food.

As she lay in bed feeling the heat in her bottom, Jaime thought about other times when she had been hurt. She remembered falling from her bicycle just over a year ago; how she scraped up the whole side of her right leg and hip as she slid across the asphalt. She tried to remember the pain, but couldn’t bring back the feeling. She remembered crying; she remembered plucking out little stones that were embedded into her skin. In many ways, those bruises were the same as the one she had right now. But at the same time this felt very different. That was an accident. For some reason, this hurt more because it was a punishment. This pain was applied to her body as payment for a misdeed.

At first, she started rolling onto her back, but finally got into a position where her bottom didn’t hurt. Once she found a comfortable position, Jaime was able to turn off her thoughts and fell into a deep sleep. She dreamed heavily that night. In her dreams, she was a maniac beating up everyone she saw. Emma was talking to her about some boy, and in the middle of a sentence Jaimie pushed her into a hole. She was then repeatedly hitting her little sister in the face. Little Nina stood there yelling, “Too hard! Too hard!” And then it was her yelling, “Too hard!” in the office at school. Jaime was with a group of teachers who all had wooden paddles and were hitting her all over her body. Jaimie woke in a sweat to her mother at the side of the bed rubbing her back.

“You had a bad dream,” she said in her motherly tone. “Try to go back to sleep.”

The next thing Jaime knew, the morning sun was coming in her window. She lay quietly in bed enjoying the fact that she didn’t have to be woken by an alarm. She loved Saturdays. She lay peacefully for a while, thinking about the day ahead. She was excited about the pool party at Emma’s. Everyone would be there and there would be great food. She thought about her new bikini and imagined sitting by the pool. knowing that guys eyes would be on her.

She moved to the side of the bed and sat up. As she did, the pain reappeared in her bottom. Yesterday’s events all rushed back to her. The soreness had lessened, but certainly not gone away. She couldn’t believe that it would still be painful a day later. She jumped from her bed and flew to her door. She dropped her pajamas and turned her back to the large mirror. The bruises were still there, large as ever. At that very moment, she realized that she wouldn’t be wearing her new bathing suit to the pool party today.

Jaime was crushed. This was the first big pool party of the year. Everyone was going to be there. If she wore her new bikini, everyone would see her bruises. She couldn’t have that. She dug through her drawers looking for some swimwear that might cover her marks, but found nothing. Frustrated, Jaimie sat down hard on the side of the bed, only to feel the pain rise up from her bottom. “Arrggh!” she yelled aloud.

Either no one heard her, or her whole family was sick of listening to her. No one came to her room. No one asked what was wrong. Jaime felt very alone.

****

Jaime hung out in her room for a while. She could hear the rest of her family downstairs. She really didn’t want to deal with them. She was still angry with her brother for outing her punishment, but also felt badly for hitting him. And then there was Mom. She would just give her more pills if she came down in a bad mood. Shouldn’t she have asked to see the bruises? Shouldn’t she have been so angry about what happened to her daughter that she charged into the school office yelling and screaming? Jaime decided that her mother just didn’t care about her.

When she finally pulled on her sweats and made her way downstairs, she tried to hide out in the kitchen and get something to eat. Unfortunately, both Billy and Nina were playing games on their phones. She tried to ignore them but she couldn’t help but stare at Billy’s cheek which was truly bruised from slamming his head into the table the night before.

“Sorry about last night,” she mumbled in his direction.

Billy didn’t respond as she expected. Instead of accepting the apology, Billy started railing on her.

“Thanks for messing up the whole family last night. Everybody was upset when you rushed from the room. You know how much mom likes family dinners.”

“I said I’m sorry.”

“Sorry is not going to cut it, kiddo. Look at me. ‘Cause of you I have to go to the party with this black and blue on my face.”

It took every bit of control for Jaime not to start smacking him again. She was visibly shaking when she responded, “You’re worried about your face?” She screamed.  “You’re worried about your black and blue? Well, this is what I’m worried about!”

With that, she turned her back to her two siblings, pulled down her pants and leaned forward to show off her naked bottom. Nina screamed. Billy stood there dumbfounded. With her pants still down around her knees, she turned and looked at the two of them. She felt sorry for Nina. She didn’t deserve that show. As for Billy, she couldn’t tell if he was more surprised by her bruises or the fact that she had dropped her pants in front of him.

****

Jaime did go to the pool party with her family that afternoon. Her new bikini stayed behind and she wore a pair of cut-off jeans that managed to cover all that needed to be hidden. She also wore a much too revealing top that any other day her Dad would have not allowed. But today he wasn’t going to cross her, and she knew it. It was her only victory in the last two days.

Mason saw the family coming across the street toward their pool and hurried to the gate so that he could greet everyone, especially Marta. He loved having them visit, mostly because it gave him the opportunity to see Marta in her pool attire.

He shook hands with the men and then greeted Marta and her daughter with hugs, welcoming them to the pool. Jaime liked hugging Emma’s father. He was strong and muscled, and he always had a wonderful smile.

“Let me look at you,” he said to Jaime, pushing her away from him but holding her shoulders. “You sure you aren’t old enough to start buyin’ life insurance?”

Jaimie saw his eyes move down her body and pause on her breasts. She knew her sexy top was having an effect, and liked the feeling of him looking at her that way.

Perhaps for the first time since Friday afternoon, she smiled. “No sir, not yet,” she responded, giving him a little wink that may have been a bit too sexy for Emma’s dad.

As if by nature, the family split up. Her dad was with the men folk; mom was with the ladies, and Billy and Nina did their first cannonballs into the pool to announce their arrival. Jaime should have gone to sit with her friends, but instead wandered back to one of the lounge chairs where she sat brooding about the fact that she wouldn’t be able to swim. She watched Emma in her rose-colored bathing suit with guys practically drooling over her. ‘That should be me,’ she said quietly to herself. She felt invisible except for the fact that people kept staring over at her.

“Why doesn’t she have a swimsuit on? How come she isn’t over here with us?” she imagined them saying. “Did you hear she got whacked yesterday? What did she do to deserve that?” Jaime closed her eyes and pretended not to be worried about them and what they thought.

When she opened her eyes again, she was pleasantly surprised to see Emma’s dad sitting in the chair next to her. As she felt his deep blue eyes on her, a warmth came over her body. She tried to keep herself from blushing.

“I heard you got in a little trouble at school,” he said.

Jaime was both embarrassed and surprised. Perhaps everyone did know about her paddling. She blushed and shook her head, unable to speak.

“Those wooden paddles hit your bottom pretty hard,” he continued. She looked away. Talking about her bruised bottom with Emma’s hot father was too much. She felt the heat in her face competing with the heat that continued to radiate from her bottom.

“You may not believe it, but I’ve been there. Had that same punishment at that very same school long, long ago. I’m sure the paddles haven’t gotten any softer over the years.

Jaime had to ask, “Did you cry?”

“Nope, had to be a man about it. It was expected that I would tough it out, and I did. But you want to know a secret?” He paused, waiting for an unnecessary answer which they both knew was just to get her talking.

“Yep.”

“When I got home that day, I cried like a baby. I think I cried for the whole weekend. But guess what?” Another purposeful pause.

“What?” Jaimie responded, now getting up enough courage to look into his lovely blue eyes.

“I got over it, and soon it was all behind me. And I became a better man for it. I never got in trouble again, and ended up graduatin’ top of my class. Now, you just enjoy the rest of your day here, young lady. Rest and relax and don’t let anything or anyone bother you, OK?”

The big man stood and started to walk away, then turned back. With little thought, he touched her shoulder. “Oh, and don’t you ever tell Emma about this. She doesn’t know about my paddlin’ and I wouldn’t ever want her to know about the cryin’. That just isn’t right for a father.”

Even when he withdrew his hand and started to walk away, Jaime could still feel his touch. It had been almost twenty-four hours since her paddling and her bottom was still burning, but it was slowly being replaced by the warm memory of staring into Emma’s dad’s lovely eyes.

****

Jaime had spent most of Sunday with Emma. They started in Jaime’s room and then at lunchtime they moved to Emma’s, where her dad greeted Jaime with a warm smile, and a finger to his lips silently reminding her not to share their little secret with his daughter. Jaime loved having a secret with Emma’s dad.

The two girls didn’t do anything in particular all day. Jaime talked about her punishment, and they talked about both the physical and emotional pain she went through. There were a few tears on Jaime’s part, and Emma made a solid vow never to get into a situation where she would be paddled.

By Monday morning, life was much better for Jaime. While the bruises still showed on her butt, the radiating pain was just about gone. She felt a little warmth when she sat on the wooden chair in the kitchen at breakfast with her family, but not enough to be bothersome. She felt badly about her brother and his bruised face. He would go to school today and have to answer questions about who beat him up. Billy was good at that though. He would make up a story about a fight and how he beat the crap out of someone from another town that no one knew.

Jaime met up with Emma and Lucas outside Emma’s house and the three started off for school together. Jaime apologized to both about how she had acted on the walk home Friday, and of course they both fully understood. Jaime promised to make today’s walk a happy one, and the three found themselves giggling over shared jokes and fun stories about people at school.

As they walked up the stairs to the front door, Jaime started to feel a little ill. Her stomach hurt and her legs were shaking. Not enough for the others to notice, but she wondered what was going on. Once inside, she let Emma and Lucas go off to their first classes and she stopped in the hallway. Across the hall was the office. Jaime peered inside and saw the nice secretary talking with a student. Behind her, Jaime could see the door that she now knew was a private bathroom. Tears started running down her cheeks as she heard her own voice in her head yelling: ‘Too hard! Too hard!’

The End

© Toastywarm 2020